The Snow Hare Brewing Logo

Those of you that we have as an acquaintance on Facebook might know that we had a small “competition” for our nearby friends. For those of you that weren’t aware, the deal was as follows: anyone who saw the message and had any sort of design skills he wanted to show, would propose an idea/sketch of what they envisioned as our logo, the winner would get a 18-19 L batch of whatever beer they wanted made. Now, we didn’t just ask people to come up with whatever came to mind, we had a concept idea behind. Our original idea in naming our home brewery was in relation to Aztec mythology, in particular the Aztec god Ometochtli which translates as “Two Hare/Two Rabbit”. This god was the leader of the Centzon Totochtin a.k.a the 400 rabbit/hare gods of drunkenness and debauchery. This explains the Hare in the name, but not the snow. The Snow part comes from the fact that while I’m Mexican, my better half is Finnish, and “snow hare” is another name for one of the typical hares they have in Finland. So after much debating and brainstorming we decided on Snow Hare Brewing.

Ometochtli

                            Ometochtli

On to the juicy part…

We received a total of 4 submissions (+1 in joking manner, so it wasn’t considered). The people behind the designs were: Gina, Antti, Ville and Mika. We’ll go one by one (or more since some submitted more than one option). I’ll go in the order listed above.

Gina’s designs

Gina's design #2

Gina’s design #2

Gina's design #1

Gina’s design #1

These designs were cool because they’re easy to imagine as beer labels. Similarly, the follow quite strongly the reference to Aztec mythology as it is quite obvious.

Antti’s design

 

Anttis design

Antti’s design

This one we thought to be “sexy”, I mean, just look at the hare! Antti was planning on polishing the design more, but he didn’t have time to propose anything else.

Ville’s designs

Ville's design #1

Ville’s design #1

Ville's design #2

Ville’s design #2

Ville's design #3

Ville’s design #3

All three of Ville’s designs are really cool. We particularly liked the font he used and the general idea behind the logos, since they represented the idea we had very well. Design #3 was particularly spot on!

Mika’s design

Mika's design

       Mika’s design

There were a few other variations on this one, mostly playing with the expression of the hare, we settled for this smirking/drunk hare. It’s the funnest design of all.

And the winner is…

So, now that you’ve seen all the designs you might have a particular one you liked. But the one we liked the most and the winner of our little competition is Ville’s design #3. Here it is again, a bit bigger.

Ville's design #3

                  Ville’s design #3

We’re not sure if you all agree, but we really liked this design and we are discussing possible changes/improvements. So this is not the final final version, but it gives an idea of where it is going. It’s a very cool post-modern Aztec hare.

The prize beer

The prize beer is still under discussion, but it will most likely be some sort of Pale Ale or Brown Ale. The idea is to discuss the potential recipe with Ville and come up with something that he will be fond of.

Once the final version of the logo is ready we’ll post about it. You can also expect to see a format change in the blog. Till next time!

/R

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E.S.B (Batch#7 Double batch)

This E.S.B is a remake of the of the first recipe we made. The original intention of this batch, was to make it for a wedding. We had given out some of our beer and ESB was the one that was liked the most. So, we decided to make a double batch. By this point we had two pots, the electric one we made and the normal pot+inductive stove one.

For all intents and purposes the process was the same, we just had one batch running in the bathroom, and another in the kitchen. The reason for this is the electricity breaker limit of 10A. Since the bathroom has a separate 16A breaker for the washing machine, this was the only option. I’ll go through the recipe as usual since it wasn’t exactly the same as our first beer and then I’ll elaborate a bit on the process differences.

Batch size

2 x 19L

Grain

  • 4.20 Kg Pale malt (Finnish Viking Malt 5 EBC)
  • 220 gr Carapils/Dextrine
  • 220 gr Caramel/Crystal 60L

Hops

  • 30 gr Fuggles (90 mins)
  • 20 gr Willamette (90 mins)
  • 15 gr Cascade (90 mins)
  • 14 gr Willamette (10 mins)
  • 28 gr East Kent Goldings (2 mins)

Dry hopping

  • None

Yeast

  • WYeast #1084

Mashing

Since we a pre-final version of our “automated” system (again, more on this later), we decided to try a step mash. Here are the steps:

  • 15 min at 52°C protein rest
  • 45 min at 67°C saccharification rest

Boiling

90 min, normal boil.

Unusual/special ingredients 

  • 1 teaspoon of dry irish moss as a clarifier (Not in original recipe)
  • 1/2 teaspoon WLP yeast nutrient (Not in original recipe)
  • 2 Litre yeast starter/ split in two, half for each batch

Fermenting

  • 2 weeks
  • Temperature 21-22°C (Higher than ideal, but worked fine)

Since it was easier to mash with our electric pot, both batches were mashed in the same pot, but boiled separately. In order to make both batches taste as much the same as possible they were blended together half and half on different fermenters. Pre-boiled, pre-cooled water was added to make both batches 19-20L. Measured gravities were as follows:

Batch#1: Pre-boil: 1.046

Batch#2: Pre-boil: 1.054

Only one batch measured: OG: 1.050, FG: 1.010

For some reason after fermentation one batch came out cloudier than the other, perhaps the difference in the boil had something to do with it as the electric pot boils better than the one on the inductive stove. Other than that, taste came out pretty much the same on both batches. Unfortunately, the wedding was cancelled and we still have some left. Considering this batch was brewed in June, the beers have lasted quite a bit.

Lessons learned

This batch was interesting due to the amount brewed and the differences in them. While the flavour of the beer was mostly the same on both batches some difference could be tasted. I attribute this to the different geometry of the fermenters, as I’ve read that this might affect fermentation. But who knows. It might have been a good idea to blend the batches post fermentation, and not just pre-fermentation. Either way the beer came out well. Not my favourite, but everyone else liked it, so that’s good enough for me 🙂

l8rs!

/R

Apologies for the inactivity

First of all, an apology for not keeping this up to date, its been a busy year, we’ve had holidays, and our schedules just don’t always allow to write about all we’ve done. You can expect more frequent updates from now on, at least that’s our aim.

Second, when we started this blog we thought to use it as a way to document our homebrewing adventures. And to be honest that intention is still the same, but we’ve been a bit more active than I thought we’d be (and a bit more busy). Our last post was referring to Batch #6. At the moment of writing this it’s been 2 weeks since we finished Batch #13. That’s 13 batches in less than a year, some might think this is not much, but I feel its a considerable amount for the first year of getting into this. At the same time, we’ve been giving beers left and right and when people ask (or tell) about us, saying “We’re R&A brewing” sounds kinda lame and generic. In order to have a more distinctive name we decided to rename our blog and our ‘brewery’ if you will. As such.

Welcome to Snow Hare Brewing.

To close this post I’ll leave you with a list of the batches we’ve yet to write about so you have an idea of what to expect.

  • Batch #7 ESB
  • Batch #8 Mash Apocalypse #2 (AIPA)
  • Batch #9 Decadence Barley Wine (Voetto Collab)
  • Batch #10 Saison
  • Batch #11 Saison + Brett
  • Batch #12 Session IPA
  • Batch #13 Mash Apocalypse #3 (Brown Ale)

You can expect to read about these batches in the coming weeks.

L8rs!

/R

Hefeweizen Oberdorfer Clone (Batch#6)

This is Anni’s baby, she’s a big fan of Hefeweizens. I’m ok with them, but I’m not particularly fond of the style. This recipe was obtained from the BYO (Brew Your Own) recipe book, it’s clone of the Oberdorfer Hefeweizen with a twist. We added some coriander to the recipe and we also included a mash-out to ease up the sparge. So, here’s the recipe.

Grain

  • 3.0 Kg Wheat malt (Finnish)
  • 2.4 Kg Pale malt (Finnish)
  • 450 gr Pilsner malt

Hops

  • 26 gr Tettnanger (60 min boil) Pellet (Replacement for Hallertauer)
  • 14 gr Cascade (2 min boil) Pellet (Replacement for Hallertauer)

Dry hopping

  • None

Yeast

  • WLP300 Hefeweizen yeast

Mashing

Since we a pre-final version of our “automated” system (again, more on this later), we decided to try a step mash. Here are the steps:

  • 15 min at 50°C protein rest
  • 45 min at 67°C saccharification rest
  • 15 min at 75°C mash out

Boiling

90 min, normal boil. No hot break as no hops were added for the first 30 min.

Unusual/special ingredients 

  • 1 teaspoon of dry irish moss as a clarifier (Not in original recipe)
  • 1/2 teaspoon WLP yeast nutrient (Not in original recipe)
  • 1.2 Litre yeast starter
  • 22 gr Crushed coriander seed(5 min boil) (Not in original recipe)

Fermenting

  • Planned for 2 weeks
  • Temperature 21-22°C (Higher than suggested, but we can’t do anything about it since the weather is getting warmer)

Another change in this recipe was that we were told Finnish wheat malt caused bad efficiency so we changed the recipe a bit and added more malts. The original OG of the recipe was meant to be 1.052, with the added malts it was supposed to be 1.066, even with this, the pre-boil gravity was 1.051 (instead of 1.055) and the OG was 1.061 which was higher than the original recipe, but lower than the estimated value with changed recipe. This beer will most likely be medium high in ABV, estimated around 6.5% if we get a good attenuation.

Lessons learned

The most interesting thing about this batch was testing the step mash. We had a PT100 temperature transmitter in the mash connected to an on/off control, so the heating element was self-regulating itself this way. The step temperatures were reached faster than I expected them to. Overall it seems to have worked pretty well, and we had a decent efficiency considering what we heard about the efficiency problem with wheat malts. Let’s see how it turns out, we’ll keep ya posted!

l8rs!

/R

Mash Apocalypse #1 (Batch #5)

This beer was our first “own recipe”. This is to say it wasn’t exactly designed or anything, it was, in a way, improvised. The name comes from the fact that this beer was made with all our left over malts. We didn’t plan anything,we just added EVERYTHING we had left. The only design came in the hops and the yeast. Here’s the recipe. Batch size was 19L.

Grain

  • 680 gr Maris Otter
  • 770 gr Pale malt (Finnish)
  • 820 gr Halcyon pale ale
  • 30 gr Melanoiden malt
  • 30 gr Wheat malt
  • 80 gr Munich malt type 1
  • 100 gr chocolate malt
  • 20 gr Crystal malt (75L)

Hops

  • 14 gr Nugget (60 min boil) Pellet
  • 14 gr Cascade (30 min boil) Pellet
  • 14 gr Willamette (15 min boil) Pellet
  • 22 gr East Kent Goldings (10 min boil) (Flower)

Dry hopping

  • None considered yet

Yeast

  • Safale S05 American Ale (Dry Yeast)

Mashing

The recipe specifies a 60 min mash at 68°C-69°C.

Boiling

60 min, normal boil. 10 min hot break boil before adding first hops.

Unusual/special ingredients 

  • 1 teaspoon of dry irish moss as a clarifier
  • 1/2 teaspoon WLP yeast nutrient
  • Yeast rehydrated in a cup of pre-boiled/cooled water

Fermenting

  • Planned for 2 weeks

Pre-boil gravity was 1.035 which is roughly were the it was estimated. OG was around 1.040. This beer will most likely be quite low in ABV given the low amount of base malts, estimated ABV is around 3.7 and 4.0%.

Lessons learned

It was quite interesting to use dry yeast again. The yeast package suggested to just sprinkle it on the wort, but reading some forums I decided to re-hydrate it. I used pre-boiled water and StarSan to clean and disinfect the necessary cups and spoon for stirring. We had some trouble with the fermentation because it took a bit longer than usual to start. More than 15 hrs to start and around 24 hrs to become really active. I think that the problem in this case was that since our thermometer decided to stop working we overcooled the wort. While this is not a problem for the yeast, it probably took it a while to get to optimal temperature and start fermentation effectively. Next time we’ll try just sprinkling it, just to see the difference in reactions times.

Another interesting issue was the hopping. I’ve been reading on beer design, and while I’m not quite proficient yet I understood the process better. I decided to use Nugget for long boil bittering because of its high alpha acid content. The other hops were chosen based on low/medium alpha acid and aroma potential. The amount was decided based on previous recipe experience. Not much to do but wait and see how it turns out!

l8rs!

/R

American Pale Ale (Batch #4)

Since we have quite a backlog of posts waiting this will be a fruitful writing day. This post relates the beer we made last Saturday. The recipe is an altered version of the APA that Palmer has in his book. The original recipe name is: “Lady Libery Ale”, some malts were changed, but otherwise the recipe is the same. Ingredients and process below. Batch size is 19L.

Grain

  • 3.2 kg Halcyon Pale Ale (Fawcett) Original recipe calls for “British Pale Malt”
  • 227 gr Crystal 60L (Actually 55L Finnish Crystal malt)
  • 227 gr Amber malt (Fawcett)
  • 227 gr Munich malt (Type 1) (Weyermann)

Hops

  • 14 gr Northern brewer (60 min boil)
  • 14 gr Cascade (30 min boil)
  • 28 gr Cascade (15 min boil)

Dry hopping

  • 14 gr Cascade

Yeast

  • WLP060 American Ale Blend (Original Recipe called for WLP001 California Ale) Changed due to lack of availability

Mashing

The recipe specifies a 60 min mash at 68°C but we did it for a bit longer since I forgot to hear up the sparge water.

Boiling

60 min, normal boil. 10 min hot break boil before adding first hops.

Unusual/special ingredients 

  • 1 teaspoon of dry irish moss as a clarifier
  • 1/2 teaspoon WLP yeast nutrient
  • 1.2 litre yeast starter made with spray malt at roughly 1.040 gravity. 2/3 of the yeast were used, 1/3 was saved.

Fermenting

  • No specification but will be done for about 2 weeks
  • Secondary is still up in the air, it might be that we dry hop in secondary 15 litres and bottle the remaining 4-5 liters.

And that’s the recipe! this recipe was done with our new equipment (on which I will post later on, and in detail). The overall experience was good, no major problems, except with the shitty thermometer we have which has become completely unreliable. Other than that we got the aim OG which was around 1.044-45.

Lessons learned

No lessons per say… just realised the advantages of making a starter. This beer didn’t really require it since the gravity was below 1.050, but we made it anyways. I have got to say, its the strongest, fastest, most active fermentation we’ve had so far. It started in less than 12 hours and has been going on for almost 3 days. This kinda makes me think starters should always be made… but let’s see, it’s not always feasible to do so due to timing and general availability.

E.S.B Tasting (Batch #1)

This post is a bit overdue…

We had our first beer for the first time 1 week after bottling, and at that point it tasted really funky and green… I feared the worst! but after another week and then a bit more it got to be pretty good… ladies and gentlemen, Batch #1 E.S.B:

Batch #1 E.S.B

So!, I’m not a professional taster or anything, so I’ll just give you my general impressions on the beer and hopefully that will be enough. The final ABV content was theoretically 5.2ish%, but everyone who’s tried it thinks it has more as it gets you a tinsy bit tipsy after only a pint.

I’ll divide the comments into sections to make it clearer.

Color

The color came out quite nicely I think. This redish/orange which is nice to the eye. If anything I’d say it’s a bit too darkish, but overall its a pleasing color. The beer is quite hazy, but this is expected because we didn’t have a wort chiller at the time and we didn’t use any irish moss. It doesn’t really affect the outlook though.

Carbonation

The carbonation level came out quite good, it keeps a nice fresh bubbling for the duration of the drink. The only think lacking was the head. It has a nice thin foamy head but disappears quite quickly. But I guess that also kinda goes with the beer style, so its no big deal.

Aroma

If you ask Anni, she likes the smell, if you ask me I think its a bit on the tangy (grapefruity) side. Hops are perceptible, but not the nice aroma I’ve come to love. There is a light yeasty smell that disappeared the later we stored the bottles and the more we cooled them. Overall good enough for a first try.

Taste

The taste is where this beer didn’t disappoint. Its really bitter but not overwhelming, the body is heavy and lightly sweet giving a satisfying (if a bit overly filling) feeling. The hop bitterness really comes across and while it has a slight taste of the trademark yeasty homemade beer taste the beer is pretty damn good!…. for a first try. 🙂

Lessons learned

So, if I had to say anything about this first all grain brewing experience and the end result I’d say I’m quite satisfied. This definitely surpassed by previous malt extract brewing and unlike extract brewing I learned a LOT during the process. Based on my limited knowledge and experience the things I’d do to improve this same recipe would be:

  • Not do a mash-out, or do it in a more controlled manner. I think that in attempting to do a mash-out we went a bit overboard with the temperature and we might have gotten some tannins in the wort.
  • Add irish mosh or something similar to reduce the chill haze and make the beer clearer
  • Include secondary fermentation with dry hopping as the original recipe said, to provide better aroma.
  • Perhaps include a yeast starter to the fermentation stage to make for an overall cleaner beer.
  • Try other carbonation sugars to see how they affect the end result.

But yeah, all in all I’d say this beer is a success. It might not be a beer you can drink more than 1 or 2 of, but its definitely enjoyable.

Cheers!